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(Haifa, January 2010)

Messages – reminders – relevant to us all in our paths of service, although addressed to Baha’i youth attending a UK conference, from our Supreme Body. Could it really be this simple: Renewed dedication to the process of learning-through-action, then commitment to engage in one or more of the core activities? Let’s try it, and find out!

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7 January 2010

The hundreds of pledges made to establish or assist with core activities is vivid testimony to the spirit of dedication which permeated that gathering. The friends may be assured of the prayers of the House of Justice in the Holy Shrines that Baha’u’llah may guide and confirm their every step taken in selfless service to His Cause.

With loving Baha’i greetings,

Department of the Secretariat

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1 January 2010

To the Friends Gathered at the Youth Conference in the United Kingdom

(…) The need for you to apply yourselves to service in two capacities in particular–as teachers of children’s classes and as animators of junior youth groups–has never been more apparent. Countless parents yearn for the means of developing their children’s spiritual faculties that would lay within them the foundations of a principled and upright character. And surely every young person will flourish in a programme that helps to form a strong moral identity in the critical years of early adolescence and empowers participants to contribute to the well-being of society. Beyond these specific fields of activity, you must not refrain from acquainting your peers with the potent, the compelling, the world-embracing mission with which you are charged. Which of them would not feel their spirits enriched for contemplating how, through the application of those far-reaching principles enunciated by Baha’u’llah, the regeneration of the world can be accomplished and its perplexing crises resolved? Which of them would not be raised to a new consciousness of humanity’s capacity to “carry forward an ever-advancing civilization” by combining their energies with yours and bending them towards this noble aim?

The Universal House of Justice

Read the full messages here.

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Dancing youth express their energy in Canada. (Photo: Ryan Lash)

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[R]eceptivity manifests itself in a willingness to participate in the process of community building set in motion by the core activities. In cluster after cluster where an intensive programme of growth is now in operation, the task before the friends this coming year is to teach within one or more receptive populations, employing a direct method in their exposition of the fundamentals of their Faith, and find those souls longing to shed the lethargy imposed on them by society and work alongside one another in their neighbourhoods and villages to begin a process of collective transformation. If the friends persist in their efforts to learn the ways and methods of community building in small settings in this way, the long-cherished goal of universal participation in the affairs of the Faith will, we are certain, move by several orders of magnitude within grasp.
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To meet this challenge, the believers and the institutions that serve them will have to strengthen the institute process in the cluster, increasing significantly within its borders the number of those capable of acting as tutors of study circles; for it should be recognized that the opportunity now open to the friends to foster a vibrant community life in neighbourhoods and villages, characterized by such a keen sense of purpose, was only made possible by crucial developments that occurred over the past decade in that aspect of Bahá’í culture which pertains to deepening.
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– The Universal House of Justice, Ridvan 2010 Message, par. 6 & 7

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Photo copyright Baha’i International Community. View here.

(US, AZ, 14 November)

This report from an Arizona B-stage cluster provides some central insights about how to motivate the friends in service and build trust and rapport with a target population. It also underscores the merit of immediately offering seekers and declarants consolidation activities they can contribute to.

In order for people to commit to service, they need to feel that they “own” their role in the process. One way to achieve this is to ask them to do something specific and then report back on their experience. Keeping data is another way to help the friends take ownership of the process.


Because we are holding study circles, children’s classes, home visits and devotional meetings at the same time every week in one neighborhood, the residents now know they can expect us to be there at that time. It has also helped the believers to participate in a collective effort based on unity of vision.


Attentive consultation with the residents allowed us to understand that a key need of the community is an English class. So weekly afternoon English classes are being held and are well attended.


● In meeting the challenge to assist all members in the cluster to find their niche in the Five Year Plan, we have learned to focus on the guidance. This helps everyone understand that teaching can occur in a variety of venues.

The new believers and family members are quickly involved in the core activities:

★ One had been studying the Faith for several years, including online. She contacted the National Center and it has been clear sailing ever since! Both she and her husband declared and registered their children. Currently at their home there is a weekly children’s class, junior youth group, and a Book 1 study circle occurring simultaneously!


Another couple enthusiastically declared their Faith during Anna’s presentation after hearing of the sacrifice and suffering of the Blessed Beauty. They immediately requested study sessions to learn more of their new Faith.


Three other young people declared their belief in Bahá’u’lláh after hearing Anna’s presentation. Two of them immediately began studying Book 1 with their teacher. Another member of the family has been studying the Faith and always seeks us out when we are visiting the neighborhood. He is participating in a Book 1 study circle each week as well.


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Abdu’l-Bahá returning to his home on Haparsim Street in Haifa

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Thousands upon thousands, embracing the diversity of the entire human family, are engaged in systematic study of the Creative Word in an environment that is at once serious and uplifting… As they call on one another in their homes and pay visits to families, friends and acquaintances, they enter into purposeful discussion on themes of spiritual import, deepen their knowledge of the Faith, share Baha’u’llah’s message, and welcome increasing numbers to join them in a mighty spiritual enterprise. Aware of the aspirations of the children of the world and their need for spiritual education, they extend their efforts widely to involve ever-growing contingents of participants in classes that become centres of attraction for the young and strengthen the roots of the Faith in society. They assist junior youth to navigate through a crucial stage of their lives and to become empowered to direct their energies toward the advancement of civilization.

– The Universal House of Justice, Ridván 2008

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(Excerpted and adapted from the teaching blog, report from an individual believer in West Valley, AZ (B) http://teaching.bahai.us/2008/11/building-trust-in-west-valley.html ) (Image reproduced with permission of the Bahá’í International Community)

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